Since 2008, the world market has been wracked by a degree of economic turbulence unusual in its scope, depth and duration. Although uneven in its recessionary impacts, no corner of the global economy has been untouched by this. In the central economies of North America, Japan and Europe, this period has been universally demarcated as a ‘major crisis’, comparable to the ‘great depressions’ of the late nineteenth century and the 1930s and the stagflation of the 1970s. Even as the crisis now presses into its fifth year, economic prospects remain highly uncertain. In cataloguing obstacles to a renewal of economic growth in various parts of the world, the July 2012 IMF World Economic Outlook observes, with a tone of understatement, that ‘the global recovery, which was not so strong to begin with, has shown further signs of weakness’.